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Jul 16, 2003

Advice Column for July 16, 2003

Ray continues to answer* actual reader questions. Got an issue? Need some advice? Email ray(@)achewood.com. Serious inquiries only, please. But no more stuff about suicide!

H E R E   W E   GO !
Listen to the theme to Ray's Place, by Milwaukee Youth Children's Choir, aka MC Frontalot

What kind of noises do you think deaf people make during sex? You know, the kind that were born deaf?
Richard, The Internet

Dear Richard,

This is a very good question. I did not know the information you needed right away so I asked a friend of mine, Dr. Paul Andretti (you may have seen him in the strip, he is a very good doctor), what sort of exclamations the “congenitally deaf” make during intimacy. He thinks they make the usual sounds of passion but slightly weirder, like if their voices went through a “wah-wah” guitar pedal. I’m not sure if he was serious, he was in kind of a hurry to get off the phone.

Anyhow, for what it’s worth, you can probably find out for sure on-line. I personally have never gotten past second base with a deaf woman (my choice).

As instructed, I'm including a picture of myself, just another loyal dyke on your bandwagon. I even ordered a thong the other day [shop URL omitted— this ain’t the Yellow Pages!] so I could be just like you. I don't really have a question; you were just asking for pictures from your invert constituency, and I delivered. But in case I have to ask a question or I get booted out by your venomous email guards or something...well, see, it's like this: I'm butch. As you can see. And I go for the toughest, baddest-ass, bruiser-type butch girls. With biceps like girders and filthy mouths. But I'm also this, like, nerdy little pantywaist on the inside — I'm all into opera and reading and stuff. So how do I get an ass-slapping bulldagger who won't smack me down for my faggy proclivities? You don't have to answer this. But if you got any ideas, I'd sure be grateful.
M. K., Internet

Dear M.K.,

I didn’t include your picture here (legal stuff, etc.), but I did look at it. Anyhow, you look like a very tough customer in your black 3-piece men’s suit and short gelled hair! I feel like I’m on Law & Order, and I’m the bad guy, and you’re mad at me! Anyhow, I showed this picture to Téodor and he cleared up a few things for me that I did not know before.

I guess I didn’t really know the main difference between a dyke and a lesbian. You’d think a guy with his own advice column would be more tuned into this stuff, but I guess a lot of the research I do is actually more about lesbians than dykes. Lesbians tend to wear almost no clothing and lie around in bed together, frenching, while I guess dykes are too busy to pose for Internet pictures because they are out punching men in the face and stealing their clothes.

Alright, enough of my waxin’. You want a big mean bitch of a lady, a real “Fifth-Gear Frances,” someone who can take a bite out of a lead brick and spit out a small die-cast model of a sailing ship. Yet you worry that your own less-than-butch interests will make you unappealing to such a lady. Listen, M.K.! People who are all tough and mean on the outside are, I often find, the ones who also have the softest hearts. Why else would they develop the armor? The studded, chapped exterior is just extra protection for the vulnerable, beautiful tenderness that a dyke such as that has inside. Scratch a big old bull-dyke and find a diamond, the saying goes.

Ray, I was wondering what you think of the Atkins diet, because I think it's total bullshit. It seems like it would help you lose weight but then mess you up even worse than you were already. However, if you defend it, then I will be forced to stop telling people it's total bullshit.
Anonymous, Internet

Dear Anonymous,

Man, is your timing great! I was watchin’ on TV tonight that like NBC news or something is doing this special segment where they help a bunch of fatties get in shape for their 25-year high school reunion. They all weigh between about 300 and 500 pounds, even the women.

Anyhow, one of the guys is using the Atkins diet! At first he was the total star, because he lost more weight than anybody. He would eat cooked hamburger patties for breakfast and lunch, and a steak for dinner. It seemed awesome. But then he got the gout! Ha ha! WHOOPS! (The gout is a disease that pirates got from not eating "carbs."). So, it looked like the diet worked for like fifty days or something, and then his body completely tried to die.

Therefore, it would seem like it is a bad diet, and just an excuse to eat beef entrées three meals a day. Also, Lyle basically lives on that diet and he’s built like a bowling ball (Sorry, Lyle! You’re ugly!).

I am a slightly kinky lady. But i am also a very good girl. I'd like my boyfriend to call me a dirty slut in bed but i don't know how to accomplish this without him beginning to think of me that way out of the context of the bedroom. Men are silly that way. A little help please?
Anonymous, Internet

Dear Anonymous,

Man, that ain’t kinky! That’s just boring. Kinky is, like, making your boyfriend wear a pig’s carcass while getting it on in the mud. Your small ideas about what is kinky are tame.

Man, I can’t get it right. I dig grilling but don’t seem able to buy the right cut of steak. I don’t want to drop too much coin, but I want something tender and nice that will respond to a nice garlic/teriyaki marinade and then some blue cheese melted across the top of it at the last minute. What is the cut, Ray? And what about fat? What kind of marble should I be looking for?
Tongs Agape In The Midwest

Dear Tongs Agape,

The best steaks for your grilling dollar are Ribeyes, Market Steaks and New York Strips. They don’t really even need a marinade, although it sounds like you like to do that. If you buy them from a responsible butcher shop that gets that “sustainable-style” raised beef, they’ll be full of tons of natural beef flavor.

Confidential to the same guy: you want all the marbling you can get, knucklehead!
MEOW -=Ray=-

In the last week before I quit my job, I was going to throw caution to the wind and ask a regular customer on a date. She didn't come to the store that week, so I missed my chance. My coworker and his buddy, who are friends of hers, have decided that since I am such a great guy (their words; I’m actually pretty modest) they must hook us up. So in a week they'll be bringing her out to a pub we usually hang out at, giving us a comfortable group situation to initially meet and possibly get to know each other. She is not aware that a setup is underway. Should she be informed? If she's not told, how should I act that night?
Feeling Sorta Sneaky, Canada

Dear Sorta Sneaky,

Man, I can’t imagine a worse situation. I’m sorry your friends are doing this to you, all “forcing” an activity which needs to be spontaneous, plus misleading the key participant (don’t pretend she won’t notice that she is bait in a trap: girls have an eerie sense for this stuff). This is like the absolute best way to make sure that the girl has an awful evening and feels used and dirty.

Look, guy. The right way to meet a girl is just to be out walkin’ around with a small puppy that you have checked out of an animal shelter. If some chick starts mackin’ on you because you have a puppy, then after you get her number go back and adopt the puppy. If you don’t meet any honeys and it’s getting dark, just drop the puppy back off at the shelter.

If things don’t work out between you and the girl, just drop the puppy back off at the shelter.

I have a former boyfriend who now suffers from fairly severe paranoid schizophrenia. He is on medication and is undergoing treatment for his illness, but is still very sick. Sometimes I see him around and chat with him, although he has gone into a recluse-esque stage and has more or less cut off all connection with former friends. When he asks me about things that aren't true, that are part of his delusional world, should I answer? Am I reinforcing his delusions? Does this matter? He's going to think these things anyway, right? He gets frustrated when I just say, "I don't believe in what you're asking me about." What should I do?
Drive Safely, S.T.

Man, don’t you people get it? I ain’t no damn doctor! I’m just some player with an Internet connection and a huge head full of ideas. I can’t tell you how to help a damn man who is sick! Sure, in a pinch I can make a surprisingly good cocktail out of fig schnapps and chicken stock, but I ain’t no damn doctor.

Whew. Okay. Anyhow, I cooled off a little just now and it sounds like you aren’t actually asking how to help him, but rather how to help yourself. I guess I can kind of take a stab at that (whoah—sorry for the unpleasant imagery). Um, let’s see. Don’t lie to the guy by playing along with his delusions, because you shouldn’t relinquish control to the mentally ill. I guess change the subject to actual things which exist, like Chinese food and Mexico? Or, wait! Talk about...oh, I don’t know. I don’t know any people with this condition. I guess just be nice and WHOOPS the phone is ringing got to go bye

I frequently go to bars with my friends as the designated driver. Sometimes I get a bit bored with drinking cola while my friends have more exciting beverages. Do you have any suggestions for worthwhile non-alcoholic drinks that I can get at a bar, or should I just stick to the cola and be grateful that it's not as lame as a Shirley Temple?
S. in PA

Dear S.,

What should happen is that you and your friends should share the designated driver responsibility equally. Right now it sounds like they’re taking advantage of you, and that you are kind of a sucker, and now I am wondering if you ever even see these people on days when they don’t call you up for rides to the bar?

I notice you seem to be fond of spirits. Can you recommend me a good Absinthe? I've tried a few and the only two standout brands are extra strength deluxe Hapsburg (85%) and La Fee (68%). The former is expensive at £40 per 50cl and also is so strong that you cannot drink enough to get the "Absinthe effect" from the Thujone in it (similar to the hallucinogenic chemical in Achewood). The latter is a bargain at £20 per 50cl and is weak enough that I can drink enough to get the Thujone high from it before getting too drunk. Please recommend a brand that is:

a) Not extortionately expensive.
b) Contains a high volume of Thujone.
c) Has a more pleasant flavour than La Fee .
d) Is not stronger than 70%.

— Ceri, Wales (UK)

Dear Ceri,

Is this some kind of “goth” thing? I once read about people getting all dorked up on Absinthe in like the first part of this “Anne Rice” book I found near the bus stop. It seemed like a neat liquor so I picked some up. It just made me super melancholy and deeply pensive. Which sucked, because I was hosting a dinner party. I would just look from guest to guest and say things about how their skin was “like a poor artisan’s glass” (someone told me I had said this).

Anyhow, if you want to have a good time then check out the “normal” shelf at your liquor store. It should be right there with all the other shelves.

You mentioned Clavell and Melville in your last column, and I was wondering if you might be able to make a reading recommendation for me. [Most of long letter omitted]
S.S., Internet

Dear S.S.,

Actually, I haven’t read any Clavell or Melville. They were just the most unexciting names I could think of (Mr. Bear usually leaves books like that lyin’ around over at their place). As far as things I actually like to read go, I can get pretty far into Howard Stern’s books, and in fact I usually keep two or three by the toilet. I also have some old Dice Man albums on CD.

I'm really annoyed at the other vegetarians who've written for advice. I really don't want to impose my views on others - I say to each his own. Bugging people about what they eat is like bugging people about their religion - it's none of your business.

But, herein lies my problem: My boyfriend's parents are hog farmers, and even though they know I'm a vegetarian, they always serve a teeny-tiny bowl of vegetable, where everyone only gets maybe a spoonful, and a huge meat dish. They live really far out of town, so the meal they provide has to be fuel for a whole day which usually includes hours of weeding their huge garden (I have no idea where these veggies go), and lots of other physical work.

I know that farmers don't get the respect (or money) they deserve as the hard working people that feed the world. I really love my guy, and certainly don't want to get into an argument over the issue with his family. His mom is a gourmet cook and I'm pretty sure she'd be insulted if I brought my own food. How can I handle this situation?
M.B., Internet

Dear M.B.,

The smartest double play you can make here is to bond with the mom by helping her in the kitchen. Work alongside her and prepare vegetarian dishes that you know the family will love (garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, bruschetta, homemade minestrone, a big bowl full of fried dildos, big composed salads, etc.). You’ll be winning the war on both fronts.

Ray, what are your picks with respect to rum when you're making a kickass rum and coke? I'm partial to Mount Gay Rum myself, but I'd like to see if there are any other ones that I should look out for.
J.D., Ottawa

Dear J.D.,

A rum and Coke gets most of its character from the Coke. Cheap rums like Bacardi will be fine, since they are being mixed with large amounts of overpowering soda and ice.

This was a very simple question.

At the end of this August, I will be leaving home for college. While I am very excited about this and eager to go, I’m also a bit nervous since it will be the first time I’ll be living (essentially) on my own. Do you have any advice to offer me? Some on the subject of roommates, parties, college ladies, or even classes would be great.
Pao, New York

Dear Pao,

You have just asked me for seventeen volumes of information, and also to be your father. I’ll try to boil it down for you in a nutshell, since I’m not getting paid for this.

1) Always wear a rubber. Although not necessary except during sexual intercourse, it’ll give you something to laugh inwardly about during long, boring lectures.

2) Imagine that the lecturing professor is also wearing a rubber. If the professor is a female, imagine that she has a rubber over the stick shift in her car.

3) Often times students bring big “thermos” cups to lecture, filled with coffee. You can mix bourbon or Kahlua into the coffee.

I work at a computer programming place where all the dudes look like sloppy computer programmers, i.e., ill fitting t-shirts with funny slogans like "GOT ROOT" tucked into those dumpy levis 550 loose-fitting-with-tapered-leg jeans. The manager guys wear those stretch cotton gay guy shirts from club monaco...unless they are the old married manager guy, those dudes wear dockers and a blue denim button down. Anyway, I usually dress like a skater bum which is dangerously close to the programmer style. It looks ok but I'm getting old and am thinking maybe i should upgrade my appearance so I can meet one of the hot chicks from the bank when I'm on lunch break. I have this Armani suit I found at an outlet mall, but that seems like overkill for my programmer job. What is a good style for a dude that doesn't want to look like a slob, an in-the-closet dot com manager, a 55 year old dad, or a wedding guest?
Anonymous, Internet

Dear Anonymous,

I’m glad you wrote! Chris has been on my ass to push his “Achewood” clothing more heavily lately, since I am always writing to people. He even wanted me to put a link to the store as a “signature” line after each of my responses! I ask you, how lame can a man get.

Visit The Achewood Shop! Dozens of Items to Choose From!

Anyhow enough about him. The style for dudes in your position these days is sort of up in the air. It’s an exciting time. You can wear these expensive leather “tennis shoes” from Italy/Europe, which look retro but also futuristic, and you can pair them with classic indigo 501s or fun trousers from Calvin. No-nonsense is the name of the game. The upper body is where you make your impression: since you work in a place which lets you wear t-shirts, why not up the ante with an untucked Lacoste short-sleeve polo? Real crisp and clean, and the old-school alligator logo on the chest will be sure to charm the girls from the bank. Also try some Aveda “Be Curly” in your hair for a fun, tousled look. Excellent.

So my best bro and bandmate is all pussy-whipped by his new girl and it sucks for me because I only see him at band practice, never for social occasions. Fairly average complaint, right? Happens to every man, correct? Quit your whining? Well, Ray, it gets worse.

This lady is five years older than my friend and has a two year old. They have been together for five months; I’ve talked to her maybe ten times. He is always at her house, babysitting, making them dinner, being the daddy, etc. He has a baby seat in his car. On top of all this, the lady is straight up crazy. She did acid every weekend for like three years and it whacked her head. She is insanely jealous and wants to read all my bro’s emails. My crew has straight up held an intervention on him because we all can tell he is not happy, but he insists that he is. This man is a naturally funny dude; now it is rare that he even cracks a smile. But he is a hopeless romantic and would probably slit his wrists if this relationship ended. How can I get my bro to show some stones, Ray?
d.e. in oly

Dear D.E.,

It’s like that Police song: “if you set a thing free and it comes back, then that’s great, but if it leaves then that’s fine too.” Your dude is exploring other life options (albeit not fun or good ones) and has decided to “play house” for a while, getting ready to be an adult. Until (if and when) their relationship breaks up, you and your boys are just going to have to do without his particular instrument in your band, and without his particular friendship in your lives. It’s like that Beatles song: “Let it be (x3), (guitar solo).”

I'm a big fan of the vodka martini. The problem is the glass, which doesn't accommodate my natural clumsiness (especially after I've had a couple). Whatever supposed classiness it might have imparted to me immediately disappears after I've spilled the drink down the front of my shirt. I've considered drinking it out of a tumbler, but am worried that this would turn the drink lukewarm, not to mention make me look like a chump. Should I give it up and drink something else, or do you have any advice for how to keep from splashing?
-E.M., San Diego

Order it on the rocks

I'm pretty down. My boyfriend is having a tough time at work -- he doesn't much like his job right now, thanks to new management taking away his autonomy and making him do more boring useless stuff. This makes him cranky. When he hangs out with me after work, I try to cheer him up, but then I end up depressed even after I've cheered him up. This has been happening for a couple of days now, and it's gotten to the point where I don't have the energy to do my work well and am not pushing myself on the job the way I'd like. He reads your column too. Any advice for him or me?
This Too Shall Pass in San Francisco

Dear SF,

Hm. This is depressing. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that over 99% of people completely hate what they have to do for money all day long, so he ain’t exactly alone in that rowboat. Maybe he could start like one of those Fight Club...aw, that’s stupid. I’m sorry. Other thoughts running through my head: eBay PowerSeller...invent new shape of pasta/flavor of sauce...sell things over the phone...shit. I guess that in these tough times he should just stop feeling sorry for himself and work on finding something else he’d rather do? Maybe instead of complaining about his job he could tell you how much he appreciates that you care about his sad ass.

Send in a picture if you guys break up.

Basically every girl I date turns out eventually to be crazy. One minute she seems to be very sweet and loving and the next minute she is doing everything she possibly can to undermine my confidence in my penis or cheating on me or lying habitually or whatever. I am aware that my decision making ability is impaired by my basically being a little fucked up myself, this much is very obvious, but that in no way implies any solutions other than "ignore all your instincts and screw whatever appeals to you least." Which would, I think, probably be a mistake.

So basically what I'm wondering is, is there a more or less trustworthy way to find out if a girl is crazy, before getting yourself too emotionally involved? One time somebody asked me what my favorite color was, and then my favorite animal, and from this we learned that I was unhappy and sexy. I'm thinking maybe something like that, except accurate.
Pun on "gaydar" involving the word loonie, Indianapolis

Dear Indianapolis,

My, what bad luck! Let’s see now. Okay, here is the test: if a girl is willing to hang out with you, then she must be crazy. Do not develop a relationship with her. Have you heard about "Fleshlights"?

I have this major problem. First i got to let you know that even though i spend all kinds of time with the ladies, i don't get too much romance. I generally pick ones who are either taken, or too young. But just a week ago i met this totally awesome babe, everything i could want in a woman. we hit it off real nice and i'm thinkin that this could go somewhere. Problem is that in just over a week (by the time you get around to answering this) she will have gone to Europe for College. should i try to start something and keep a long-distance relationship? or should i just forget about the whole thing and maybe try to start something when she comes back to the states?
Pickel, Internet

Dear e.e. cummings,

This is just about the most hopeless thing I have ever heard. You are both in the part of life where you are doing all kinds of exploring and are totally excited about things. This girl is definitely going to meet some new guy about six seconds after she gets on the plane, and will probably have been meaningfully involved with three others by the time the plane lands. She will probably flirt mutually with a young, handsome Turkish dude while waiting in the luggage carousel, and then ditch him when a suave, deeply-tanned young Italian saunters by (she will make an excuse about needing to run to the bathroom). After a torrid liaison with a handsome Englishman on the shared cab ride to her dorm, she will meet a young Swiss fellow whose parents own a small but popular ski resort in the Alps. They will make exciting love. Afterwards, they will enjoy wine and flavorful European cigarettes before falling asleep in each other’s arms.

Hope this helps you see how it is.

I see that you enjoy the finer things in life, but as a full time university student my financial situation dictates that I may not enjoy these as frequently as you do. I have not yet chosen a career path and wanting to be a distinguished gentleman such as yourself I would like to know what lucrative industry you are involved in. Can you suggest some possible careers/industries that are capable of supporting a gentleman like yourself. We all know you have had startup companies and advertising agencys [sic] and even a brew bar. Did you require training for these? And what does Ray Smuckles call a nine-to-fiver?
W., Brisbane Australia

Dear W.,

I mainly printed this letter because I wanted to show people that I have readers as far away as Australia! Neat!

My fellow is allergic to furred animals. We live together, so I need to find a way around this situation, as I enjoy pets. Unfortunately for me, he doesn't like the idea of taking allergy medicines on a regular basis. Do you know much about allergens? More specifically, can you give me advice on how to covertly medicate someone's food?
JK, Pasadena

Dear JK,

Yeah, this is a tough one. On the one hand, you like to have a human around who you can tell your opinions to, and who will drive to the store if you are sick and need some medicine. But also you want a cat. You want a cat, all soft fur and cute face, completely loving you and cuddling like crazy with you whenever you need it. And sometimes making you cuddle even when you didn’t realize that you wanted cuddles (although, as he will show you, you did). This cat would not be embarrassed if you needed to take a shower or try on new clothes in a full-length mirror. He would probably just curl up on the bed and completely approve, just completely wanting to cuddle you. Call me.

Some friends and I are heading to Bandon Dunes on my birthday to play a lot of golf and drink a lot of scotch. However, since my birthday's in November, we're going to need to bring some along on the course! Can you suggest some single malts that'll keep us warm?
T., Regina, SK, Canada

Dear T.,

It’s no secret that I like a round, whether it be on the course or at the “19th hole.” However, I rarely mix drinking with golf, especially at such a nice course as “Old Lady B.” Sure, it’s fun to hit balls while all turned around, all just drivin’ a golf cart straight into a tree and laughin’ about that act for several minutes, but if you’re gonna drop real coin on a golf course, take it serious. Scotch makes you good at a lot of things, like yelling at your wife, but it’s terrible for hand-eye coordination.

For the last 2 years I've been dating this girl who is very anti-drinking because her dad is a major alcoholic and an asshole to boot. She's more or less concerned with anything that would result from my having a drink, much less getting drunk. For the last year I've been off at college while she finished up High School, being able to pretty much do my own thing, party and drinking wise. Anyway, this fall, she is coming to my school and that is definitely going to put a hamper on my drinking-related fun. I don't know how long I'll be able to claim that the fridge full of beer is all my roommate's, so I was wondering if you could give me advice on how to get her to see the social side of drinking-- the fun side. How likely would she be to come around on her own once she has been at school for a while?
Rob in MD

Dear Rob,

How many times do I have to tell you guys! Don’t lie about who you are. You are not Leave It To Beaver, lying to a brown-faced Wally about wiping with his washcloth because there was no toilet paper. Dammit! Be your damn honest self. This girl needs to come to the realization that not everyone who drinks turns into a monster. Don’t shove it in her face, but don’t make any apologies about who you are or how you like to enjoy yourself. And if this big magical visit isn’t happening until the fall anyway, she’ll probably break up with you way before that, like on the first day she starts at her own college and meets someone else (see previous letter about girls and boys and long distance).


Ha ha! I’m done for the week!

* A Gentle Reminder (“Disclaimer”): This is advice from a cartoon cat, and should not be taken seriously. We are not responsible for anything you do based on what Ray says, or otherwise. Do not commit suicide or otherwise interrupt the lives of others. Continue on with your life as though you had never read this column. Erase your browser history.